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Archiving software CDs under Win98

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I am currently archiving about 300 old software CDs and have come across several problems.

1) Archiving software CDs with out-of-spec filenames

A software CD, burnt around 1998, contained directory names which were not legal under ISO 9660. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_9660 I assume it contained 3 subdirectories with dots in their directory names: "5.5DDocs", "5.6Addendum" and "5.6Tutorial". Unfortunately I cannot check the CD anymore, since the CD has gone bad in the meantime, with silvery flakes peeling off the CD.

Before the CD went bad I had made under Win98 an Ok file copy with Windows Explorer (and also with Unstoppable Copier) to a USB HDD of all files and directories on the CD.

When I looked under Win98SE at these 3 subdirectories on the USB HDD they had the long file names "5 ~1.5dd", "5 ~1.6ad" and "5 ~1.6tu" (each with 4 embedded spaces, not correctly displayed here, and the long file name and the DOS file name were identical). Neither WinME ScanDisk nor standalone Norton Disk Doctor 2004 complained under Win98SE about the long file names.

When I looked under WinXP SP2 at these 3 subdirectories on the USB HDD they had different long file names: "5.5DDocs", "5.6Addendum" and "5.6Tutorial".

The only explanation I can think of why Win98 and WinXP assign different long names to the same directories is that when Win98SE stored an out-of-spec filename on the USB HDD, it somehow marked the filename as bad, and subsequently used the DOS name as LFN. In any case Win98 must have stored on the USB HDD the out-of-spec directory name of the CD, since WinXP reads it from the USB HDD.

I came across this problem when I made a binary compary with Beyond Compare under WinXP. I compared under WinXP the file-copy backup on the USB HDD against a mounted .iso image created under Win98 of the files on the USB HDD: they did NOT match. WinXP read the directory names on the USB HDD as "5.5DDocs" and the corresponding directory name in the mounted .iso (created under Win98) as "5 ~1.5dd".

The assigning by Win98 and WinXP of different long names to the same folders has 2 major implications:

1) Software backed up under Win98, from a CD with out-of-spec long names, into a .iso (or also as .rar, etc.) or even as a Windows Explorer file-copy will NOT work. A program looking for "5.5DDocs" will not look for "5 ~1.5dd"

2) Because of this out-of-spec problem, backup copies of CDs, made under Win98 may not be reliable. It may be preferrable to make backup copies of CDs under WinXP instead of under Win98.

This 12-year-old CD may be an example to explain the somehat cryptic text in the Wikipedia article: "... most operating systems which can read ISO 9660 file systems have no problem with out-of-spec names. However, the names could appear wrong to the user." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_9660

Is there some software which checks whether a CD (or HDD) contains out-of-spec file or directory names?

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Interesting problem. :blink:

Though the actual "good" way to backup a CD is to make a .iso file of it. (please read as dd-like copy), remember that a .iso is a CD and a CD is a .iso.


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I have just created with UltraISO two .iso images of another CD containing out-of-spec directory names (e.g. a dot in the directory name), one created under Win98 and the other created under WinXP. When mounted on 2 virtual drives with Alcohol, Beyond Compare found both .iso images to be identical.

So the phenomenon of these 3 directories "5.5DDocs", "5.6Addendum" and "5.6Tutorial" on my backup HDD being assigned different names by Win98 and WinXP is probably NOT caused just by a dot in the directory name.

Maybe it is caused by the embedded blanks in the DOS directory names "5 ~1.5dd", "5 ~1.6ad" and "5 ~1.6tu". I guess the embedded blanks were automatically created as fillers because the first part of the directory name consists of a single character "5", and the suffix exceeds 3 characters.

I don't know how the embedded blanks got into DOS directory names on my backup HDD. When, for example, I create under Win98 the folder "1.junk", Win98 assigns it the DOS folder name "1~1.JUN", without embedded blanks. Maybe it has something to do with ISO Level 1 (8.3 characters), it can't be coincidence that in each of the 3 directory names 4 blanks were embedded, giving a total length of 8 characters to the first part of each directory name.

Am I missing a MS bug fix on my Win98 computer? The whole problem looks like a MS bug, which was fixed under WinXP.

Edited by Multibooter

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What low-level dd-like copying tool would you recommend for creating a .iso image under Win98? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dd_unix



and/or a GUI for them:




You don't need to actually mount a .iso and use Beyond Compare or similar utilities, just create an compare the MD5 hashes of them.




Also, slightly off topic, but related:




This is "the real thing" (though you won't like it's price):


"Poor man's" version:



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Have you given Burnatonce a try? There's quite a range of ISO settings that might handle the CDs in question.


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All CDs and DVDs will eventually become bad and unreadable. Pressed silver CDs, e.g. from MS, tend to be Ok still after 10 years, although there plenty of exceptions.

Burnt CDs tend to have a life span of around 3-7 years, although I still have a couple of good CDs burnt around 15 years ago.

How to identify bad CDs/DVDs

A CD/DVD can be checked for bad sectors with ImgBurn by creating an image file from the CD. If no message like "Uncorrectable Error" is displayed, the CD/DVD is Ok and contains no bad sectors. ImgBurn also displays which file is affected by the specific bad sector.

ClonyXXL v2.0.0.6 , a copy protection scanner, has a bad sector scanner and could be useful to check whether a CD with bad sectors is copy-protected or not. Copy protection schemes often use intentionally bad sectors, and it would be useless to just wash or buff such a CD/DVD or read it in many times, bad sectors were put there for a purpose. ClonyXXL v2.0.0.6 can access CDs in an external USB enclosure under Win98SE, but not under WinXP. ClonyXXL v2.0.0.6 cannot check DVDs, only CDs. ClonyXXL helps to identify those CDs with bad sectors which in some jurisdictions should not be archived.

ImgBurn does not give a warning when the CD/DVD has bad sectors created intentionally for a copy-protection scheme, but displays normal messages like:

"Failed to Read Sector xxxx - Reason: L-EC Uncorrectable Error

Sector xxxx maps to File: \Lock\Lock.dat" (as a hypothetical example, the file name of the first bad sector could give a clue)


"I/O Error! .... Device: .... Interpretation: .... CDB Interpretation: Read CD - Sector xxx ... Sense Area Interpretation: L-EC Uncorrectable Error"

How to Repair a bad software CD/DVD (non-bootable, no copy-protection):

Step 1: Decide whether it is really worth the expense and effort to recover/repair a particular CD/DVD. Recovering/repairing bad CDs/DVDs can be VERY time-consuming. If a copy-protected software CD goes bad, an attempt at recovery may probably not be worth while.

The recovery of one really bad CD took me about 2-3 days, and I took it as an enlightening experiment. I was very lucky then that I had found good replacement files for all unrecoverable files (see Step 12), otherwise the whole recovery effort would have been in vain. When you embark on recovering/repairing a bad CD/DVD, you don't know the outcome. It may well be that the bad CD/DVD can never be repaired.

Step 2: Get your tool box together, like:

a) at least 3 CD/DVD/blu-ray burners which are very good readers in general

b ) ImgBurn v2.5.6.0

c) Unstoppable Copier v5.2 (WinXP) or v3.56 (Win98, does NOT copy zero-size directories)

d) an Aleratec DVD/CD Disc Repair Plus, model 240131

e) Beyond Compare v2.5.3 and the Hex Viewer plugin

f) UltraISO v9.3.6.2750

g) ClonyXXL v2.0.0.6

h) 7-Zip v9.20

i) 20GB of free space on a HDD for repairing CDs, 100GB for repairing DVDs

I have in my toolbox 5 different burners which are excellent readers. One reader may be able to read some sectors which another reader can't., maybe because of different alignments, maybe because of different hardware/firmware capabilities. It's a matter of trial and error, and collectively these good readers can recover a lot of stuff on bad CDs/DVDs.

Copying the content of a bad CD several times, e.g. with Unstoppable Copier or Beyond Compare, with the same burner may result in different sets of good recovered files. Reading a bad CD/DVD by sector, i.e. by creating a .iso file, has somehow produced more good files than reading a bad CD by file (as with Unstoppable Copier), no idea why.

I have kept a really bad CD as a tool to test the reading ability of burners. Somehow blu-ray burners and burners which can read/write Mount Rainier tend to be good readers, maybe because they have a particularly good error correction to compensate for the many errors on blu-ray and CD-RW media. One good reader I obtained by chance from an old PC, which a friend wanted to dispose of. After looking over his old PC I kept a couple of components, including the burner, and then took the remainder together with other stuff to a recycling drop-off. The reading ability of a good reader may deteriorate quickly after reading for many hours over the same bad sectors on a bad CD/DVD.

One reader may be good for +DVD media, another for -DVD media, it's a matter of testing. I have my good PATA and SATA readers in external USB enclosures, so they can be hooked up easily to any of my computers. On my list of projects I still have an old SCSI burner, which I would like to put into an external USB enclosure, any ideas are appreciated.

Step 3: the bad CD/DVD is washed with tap water and a mild dishwashing liquid, as used when washing dishes by hand, plus a good rinse.

Step 4: the bad CD/DVD is read in by sector (e.g. by UltraISO -> Tools -> Make CD/DVD Image, or by ImgBurn ->Create image file from disc), creating a pre-buffing iso image, with zeroes instead of bad sectors. If you use ImgBurn, and ImgBurn does not display an error message about a bad sector, then washing the CD/DVD was enough, and BINGO, you're done.

It is better to use in this step ImgBurn, rather than UltraISO. because ImgBurn creates a log file/error report, which allows to deduce that files not listed as having bad sectors, were read Ok. The log/error report by ImgBurn should be saved for later reference and analysis. UltraISO does not have a detailed log, but is easier to use, with fewer options and settings where one could make a mistake.

CloneCD v5.211, for example, is not useful for this step. CloneCD v5.211, when it encounters a bad sector during the creation of a .iso apparently tries to replicate the bad sector in the file mapped to the bad sector. As a results, when a file containing a bad sector is accessed on a mounted .ccd, e. g. with Windows Explorer under WinXP for a file copy, you get the error message: "Error Copying File or Folder. Cannot copy xxxx: Cannot read from the source file or disk".

MagicISO v5.5.0281 seems to fill a whole file with zeroes if only one of its sectors is bad, so it's not useful in this Step either. ImgBurn v2.5.6.0 and UltraISO v9.3.6.2750, on the other hand, replace just the bad sector area in the file with zeroes.

One interesting difference between the various iso programs is how they handle bad sectors.

Step 5: the bad CD/DVD is read several times by file by Unstoppable Copier, with various good readers, creating several sets of good files

Unstoppable Copier must have the setting "Auto Skip Damaged Files" selected, also "Include Sub Folders"and "Copy Empty Folders". I obtained the best results when "Set Maximum Retries" had the value 20 (possible range: 0 to 99). Beyond Compare could also be used to create the various sets of good files, but Beyond Compare does not display the number of Skipped Files as an easy single number. The reader which creates the set of good files with the most files in it, is the reader which can handle this specific bad CD/DVD best.

Step 6: the bad CD/DVD is buffed 5-10 times with the Aleratec DVD/CD Disc Repair Plus machine, removing a thin layer of plastic from the CD/DVD. The resulting CD/DVD is basically a different bad CD/DVD, with some previously bad sectors/files perhaps readable.

Step 7: try to create an image of the bad buffed CD/DVD with ImgBurn with the best reader for this CD, as identified in Step 5, creating a post-buffing iso image. There may be a chance that ImgBurn does not display an error message about a bad sector. If so, you are lucky, BINGO, a good .iso image was created, and you may proceed to step 15.

Step 8: the bad buffed CD/DVD is read several times by file by Unstoppable Copier, with various good readers, creating even more sets of good files.

Step 9: the various sets of good files (maybe 20GB altogether, for a single bad CD), produced by various reads and readers before and after buffing, are merged into a single good set with Beyond Compare.

Step 10: with Beyond Compare the mounted iso image (pre-buffing or post-buffing), containing the original structure of the CD/DVD, is compared against the set of merged good files (Step 9); and a list of missing files (= the bad files which could not be recovered from the bad CD/DVD) with filenames, bytes and dates is prepared manually.

Step 11: The files on the list of missing files are individually read from the bad buffed CD/DVD by Unstoppable Copier, with retries=99, and with all good readers. Any good, additionally recovered files are merged into the merged set of good files.

Step 12: Other possible sources (related CDs, older or newer versions of the software CD, google/bing, eMule, ftp search) are searched for the bad/missing files, with the same file name, file size in bytes and similar modification dates. This step can be crucial for repairing.of the CD.

In one recovery attempt 2 apparently good replacement files were found via google. Subsequently, however, continued buffing with the Aleratec machine produced 2 good files, which differed by 5 bytes in the header from the files found via google. The files recovered after buffing with the Aleratec machine and those found via google were .DL_ cab files and contained identical DLLs, so the slightly different replacement files found via google may perhaps have worked, even if they were not identical to the original files on the bad CD.

Replacement files from related CDs (e.g. CDs by the same software/CD producer, with different versions of the software, DLLs etc. tend to be re-used) have been the best source of good replacement files.

Step 13: Any found replacement files are compared in Beyond Compare/Hex Viewer against the corresponding file in the pre-buffing and post-buffing iso images. All bytes of the replacement files should be identical to the files in the mounted .iso, except for the zeroed out "holes" in the .iso files, i.e. the good sectors of the bad files on the .iso should be identical to those of the replacement files.

Step 14: a copy of the the pre-buffing (or post-buffing) iso image is opened in UltraISO. All files and folders of this iso image are deleted in the UltraISO window, so that an empty shell remains, with some of the properties of the original .iso file.The set of good merged files (files and folders) is then dragged and dropped into this empty shell. . Finally, this shell with the new content is saved as a new .iso under a different name, e.g. "repaired.iso".

Step 15: Integrity check with 7-Zip: all archive files (.DL_, .EX_,, .IN_ etc) in the mounted repaired .iso should extract without error messages, see There is a good chance that the repaired CD/.iso works as well as the original CD.

Step 16: file cleanup: delete again the various sets of of good files. There may be many files and folders to be deleted; during the recovery attempt of one CD (not DVD!), 21 sets of good files were deleted, with 100.000+ files. The recovery of a single DVD may require 100GB of free HDD space for maybe 20 sets of good files

The repaired .iso should contain the structure/shell of the original CD, the set of merged good files from maybe 20+ reads, and replacement files from other sources for the non-recoverable files.

Edited by Multibooter

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Considering that many files have large blocks of zeroes in them, Disk readers should replace bad sectors with something else rather than zeroes.

This would make it easier to identify the damaged files.

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Multibooter (or anyone also) ... have a question related to this discussion and long term storage. What brand DVDs do you use? I have also noticed the jump in blank DVD prices since last year. I was waiting for Amazon to drop their price on Verbatim 97459 4.7 GB DVD+R (100 Disc Spindle) ... some discussion there that Verbatim DVDs made in Thailand are superior to the ones made in India. Over the last month the price on these DVDs dropped below $22 but not for long ... usually less than a day or just for a few hours. They are usually priced at around $28 ... they also make a lower grade/priced brand I believe but the good ones are the ones that have Azo ("Advanced Azo" recording dye) on the outside wrapper.

"Verbatim DVD+R offer 4.7GB or 120 Minutes of write-once storage capacity, superior recording quality, and compatibility with 1X to 16X DVD+R writers. Verbatim's 16X cutting edge technology allows users to record a complete 4.7GB/120Min disc in approximately 5 minutes. Recognized as the choice for professional users, Verbatim DVD+R offers the optimal "Advanced Azo" recording dye, which provides the highest level of read/write performance, reliability, and archival life."

I ordered these (Verbatim 97459 4.7 GB) in Apr/May .... the DVDs with that number were made in Thailand.

I guess that Taiyo Yuden DVDs are maybe the best but these seem to be close for long lasting storage DVDs.

This was posted at Amazon about Verbatum DVDs made in India over Thailand or Asia ....

"I've used to have good success over the years with Verbatim quality and they used to be worth the extra few dollars. Sadly this is no longer the case, you may need to look elsewhere, I am disappointed.

This purchase from November 2010 shows the discs are now made in India, so even though they have the same product code as the ones that used to be made in Singapore or Taiwan, they are not up to the same standard."

... as I said earlier, the Verbatim 97459 DVDs that I got were made in Thailand. I had no idea when I placed the order where they were made until I received the shipment, first thing I looked for when I opened the box ... the "Azo" label and place of manufacture. Placed a second order after the price dropped again for part of a day a week or two later (below $22). Today, now they are $27.84 for 100 blanks.

Anybody with DVD info or experience with a good brand, I'd like to hear what you recommend or use. I have 400 of these Verbatum DVDs since the price on blank DVDs has jumped since last year.

thanks ...

Edited by duffy98

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... have a question related to this discussion and long term storage. What brand DVDs do you use?

Why archive software CDs/DVDs?

First of all, as I mentioned above, I don't consider plastic media to be a good long-term storage solution. The purpose of my archiving CDs/DVDs onto HDDs is to get away from CDs/DVDs and other plastic media. In other words, I am migrating from plastic to HDDs. 1 HDD is easier to back up than 300 CDs/DVDs.

Here some advantages of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, which are useful, but may eventually become legacy media, just like 1.44MB floppies or 240MB LS-240 diskettes:

a) CDs/DVDs are read-only media and stuff on them cannot be infected after burning; .exe files on an archive HDD can become infected by .exe infectors after archiving. I know of no malware which can infect .iso files, so stuff archived on a HDD as .iso is currently pretty safe. What I don't like about .isos is that there is no software which can repair damaged isos, at least as far as I know.

b ) CDs/DVDs are mechanically quite stable and don't die if you drop them

c) CDs/DVDs are a small separate storage media for stuff I don't want to have on my archive HDDs, like infected stuff, viruses, trojans, riskware, malware and other stuff. I keep, for example, on an especially marked CD some specimen of the Tenga virus, of Tenga-infected files and of possible causes of the Tenga infection, as souvenirs of a really bad infection 2 years ago. I also keep software containing password-protected stuff on a separate CD, one never knows what's in it.

d) you can dispose of CDs/DVDs quite easily in the garbage, or use them as coasters under your cup. :) Disposing of HDDs is a little more time-consuming, since they should be wiped before being taken to a recycler of electronic trash.

Other stuff I back up to CDs are photos and compilations of installation sources of actually used, good software, for convenience and as additional backups on different media. All my "Source" and "Photo" CDs are also archived as .iso on HDDs. I don't archive/back up stuff to DVDs anymore.

In the US I use Taiyo Yuden TYG02 DVD-Rs, which I bought from ebay as a cake of 100 about 3 years ago. In Europe I am using RitekG04 DVD-Rs, bought in a supermarket under the "Octron" label about 7 years ago. The Octron DVD-Rs had an excellent burn quality initially, but the burn quality of DVDs burnt from them has deteriorated steadily over the years, plastic media deteriorates regardless whether burnt or still blank. The whole issue of "burn quality" of plastic media is a time-wasting headache. With HDDs you don't have the issue of "write quality", at least it hasn't surfaced. I actually would prefer a 1TB HDD where the data stays Ok for 50 years, rather than a 50TB HDD, where the data stays Ok for 1 year. I have no idea whether there are HDDs with archival storage quality.

I have also noticed the jump in blank DVD prices since last year.
I didn't know that DVD media had jumped in price. Again, I haven't bought plastic media for backup in years, only special media like CD-RW, DVD-RW, BD-R and BD-RE for experimenting. Maybe the prices of blank DVD media have jumped because of the flood in Thailand, like with HDDs, which have more than doubled in price. Edited by Multibooter

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OK, you make good points but at present I am still opting for DVD storage. Having just changed my system to XP, I guess I can look into larger type hard drives. I can store the DVDs easier for now ... a good quality DVD may have a storage life of 80 to 100 yrs or so I have read ... obviously nobody has been around yet for that length of time to see if their DVDs are still OK. Thanks for the input ... I was also wondering if the floods in Thailand has something to do with the upward trend of blank DVD prices or maybe oil prices dealing with the plastic.

thanks ...

Edited by duffy98

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Aleratec CD/DVD Disc Repair Plus

This machine does work http://www.aleratec.com/disc-repair.html and http://www.amazon.com/Aleratec-240131-Disc-Repair-Plus/dp/B000E4K2GO/ . I have now repaired/recovered a 2nd CD, an old original, pressed MS Win95 OEM CD (file modification dates 11-Jul-1995, the CD had only ISO 9660, no additional Joliet, and was not bootable). The CD had developed by itself over time 2 cracks at the outer rim, and had also a couple of scratches. The DVD burner, which was the top reader of the first CD I had repaired (see above), was able to read only 62 out of 1535 files. The best reader for this particular bad CD was the blu-ray burner Pioneer BDR-203; the other blu-ray burner in my arsenal of excellent readers, an Asus BW-12B1ST, was just stuck reading the CD for maybe 1-2 hours, until I canceled.

I was able to create a good iso from this CD with this burner a year ago, but only during a single read of many. I wasn't able to read the CD properly again, so I had put it away, marked "unresolved problem, resolve it later". This iso was unfortunately created by UltraISO, so I didn't know whether the .iso was good or contained zeroes for bad sectors.

Buffing means here to remove a thin layer of the plastic of the CD with some kind of fine sand paper. I buffed the CD two times with the Aleratec, but the Pioneer blu-ray burner, which was my best reader of this particular bad CD, still created an iso with bad sectors with ImgBurn. Finally, after having buffed 5x, the Pioneer could read the CD properly, without bad sectors. The other burners could still not read the CD buffed 5 times. The previous CD (also pressed) which I had buffed and repaired before, also had started to become more readable after buffing 5 times. Each buffing cycle treats the bad CD for about 2 minutes with this special sand paper.

In the case of this 2nd bad CD, I did not need to use of the various sets of good files created by Unstoppable Copier, but the creation of these sets of good files with various burners had shown me which one of my burners was best at reading this specific bad CD. I knew in this way which burner to use to check whether the Alaratec had gone deep enough into the plastic of the CD, or whether I should keep on buffing.

The consumables (the wheels with the special sand paper and the polishing paste) are quite expensive, so the cost of materials for creating a good iso from this CD was maybe $3, plus 3 hours of fiddling around.

The Aleratec is highly recommended, probably the best of its kind. The only critique: the power supply is only 110V and it's inconvenient to switch between the 2 sets of wheels in the repair process. I will eventually buy a second unit.

Blu-ray disks are not on the list of media which the Aleratec can repair, so blu-ray disks are probably unrepairable media. Before repairing bad CDs/DVDs or recovering data from them, one should ask oneself: Is the stuff on the CDs/DVDs really worth the time and effort?

Edited by Multibooter

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If we are talking about bad CD's, I'll mention two nice pieces of software that I used back in that times. The are CDCheck - this utility allows recovering only selected files and it allows setting the number of read attempts for bad sectors. Sometimes if sector is not read from the first attempt, it may be read if you use enough attempts (though it takes time). Utility is shareware and it also provides some other functions. The second program is Virtual Drive 7. My friend gave me his 2 CD version of Diablo 2. The 13 percents of the second disk were unreadable (with game music). The game could be installed OK, but it required 2nd CD in CD-rom, and from time to time tried to load music from those 13 percents, and the game freezed. I've tried to make an image with Virtual Drive 7. It just tried to read the disk, sector by sector. Each sector from those 13 % was being read for a long time, but each sector was read successfully after all! Creating an image took more than 12 hours (first 87% were read in few minutes), and it just tried until it read everything successfully! I completed Diablo 2 with this image. Though I have not tried to read other bad CDs with it.

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